Private detectives Sean King and Michelle Maxwell are called to Maine by King’s mentor, attorney Ted Bergin, to consult on a case involving serial killer Edgar Roy who is being held in the “only federal maximum security institution for the criminally insane in the country.” Sean and Michelle—both formerly in the secret service —soon find themselves embroiled in a political, high stakes murder fest. Sean, who is also an attorney, and Michelle, a highly skilled marksman happen to be in love—a nice softening touch to two people who are in many ways pretty hard boiled.
Structured like a spiraling funnel, the plot moves swiftly through a series of crimes as the detectives analyze clues, posit theories, encounter more bad stuff, meet more people, exonerate some suspects, and implicate others, all the while discovering how ruthless the world of U.S. intelligence can be.
The complex story, the fast pace, the clean prose, and a worthwhile political theme make The Sixth Man an enjoyable and light read.
Lastly, the fact that some of the action in this novel takes place in Maine also contributed to my enjoyment of it. The salty sea air, the no nonsense people, and the rugged coast brought me back to the happy summer days of my childhood in southern Maine.
The Sixth Man was my first Baldacci novel but it won’t be my last.